From Kerri Harrop
The first of our Seattle recipes! More to come. As for this one, sad to say I got not even a spoonful. So I’ll just have to go with Kerri’s description. To wit: “Little old Jewish ladies get all the props for good chicken soup, but I grew up eating bowls of my Nana’s Irish Catholic version, which gets its designation by the omission of matzoh balls and the addition of crackers. Very Body of Christ, but without all the Latin. I am not a very good Catholic AT ALL, but I think it helps the process if you say, ‘Jaysus, Mary and Joseph, that shit is delicious,’ when you taste it.”
1 whole chicken
Homemade chicken stock (see below)
1 sweet onion
4 or 5 stalks of celery
4 or 5 nice looking carrots
1 clove of garlic
coarse sea salt
fresh ground pepper
First, you gotta roast a chicken for dinner, one or two days before you make soup. I like to rub the bird with olive oil and a secret blend of herbs and spices, stick a lemon (halved) in its cavity, and stuff garlic under its skin. After you have dinner, put the leftovers in the fridge, including all the bones.
The next day, you need to remove the meat from the bird’s cold carcass. I think it is easier when it is cold, plus you probably don’t want to do it after dinner because you are full and just wanna watch a movie or something.
Wrap up the meat and put it back in the fridge. Take all of the bones and whatever potentially gross things are left (skin, wings, bits of fat) and throw it all in a stock pot. Some people say you should throw away the skin and fat, but that is bullshit. You are gonna skim it, anyway.
Cover this mess with water and get it boiling. You should add in some onion, and whatever vegetables you wanna get rid of. You are not eating the veggies, so it can be stuff that is kind of dodgy. You definitely wanna throw in a couple of carrots and some celery. Parlsey, too. Chopped up, obviously.
Once it hits boiling, drop the heat to a low simmer and let it cook for as long as you possibly can. Like, all day. The longer it cooks, the better it will be. Throw in some salt, some pepper, and whatever else tickles your fancy. Just don’t get too weird.
When you have had enough of that stock simmering away, skim the surface and then strain through a colander. Be careful, it is hot. Now you have chicken stock!
OK, so make some soup. Chop the onion up nicely, and sauté it in some olive oil. The pot you are using to cook it is your soup pot so make sure it is big enough. Once the onion is getting soft and pretty, throw in a clove or two of minced garlic. Don’t let it get too brown.
While this is going on, you should have been getting your chicken ready. How you do that is up to you. If you like it shredded, go for it. If you like chunks, get chopping. Mix it up with both ways if you want, I don’t care.
Add the chicken to your onion and garlic, and give it a little stir. It should smell super. The chicken is already cooked, so don’t overdo it. Once everything has gotten to know each other, throw in your chicken stock. If you don’t have enough, you can use some store-bought. Just make sure it isn’t gross. Spend the extra money.
Reduce the heat and cover with a lid. Now, chop up your celery and carrots. Again, how you do this is up to you. It’s a free country!
Throw that veg in the pot. Do you like other stuff in your chicken soup? Go ahead and add it. Sometimes fresh green beans are lovely, or maybe some English peas. Have a tomato that is about to go south? It can go in the pot, no big whoop.
Add salt and pepper. Don’t be stingy. Now, just let it simmer all day. Hopefully you have a baguette on hand, so you can dunk it in and taste the soup when the smell is just driving you crazy with hunger.
There are a few schools of thought when it comes to adding noodles. Me, I wait until the last half hour or so. The longer those noodles are in the soup, the more they will soak up the broth. They will expand, and that is not a bad thing but I like them a little more controlled.
Whatever you do, make sure you boil the noodles in a separate pot. If you just throw in dry noodles, the soup will be too starchy. I think classic egg noodles are best, plus they kind of fuck with the whole chicken and egg idea. But you can use whatever.
Don’t like noodles? Try rice! Want your soup to be more like a stew? Use potatoes! Feeling weird? Throw in a yam, or some squash. Just make sure you boil all this stuff to at least al dente before you add it. Again: starch city.
Starving? Have a bowl of soup. Crumble up some saltines on top, it is delicious. If you are feeling fancy, you can sprinkle some chopped parsley on top. Use the Italian version — it is way better. Drink some red wine with it. Almost everything is better with red wine. My Nana would agree.